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Audity

112kbps-320kbps MP3 vs. FLAC VGRemixes?

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I heard that 320kbps is totally indistinguishable by the human ear. But then FLACs came out. There has to be some point to FLAC then, right? Perhaps with a really ear-worthy human and some extremely audiophilic headphones, someone could pick out some differences between the two. Anyone have any idea at all? I know WAVs are 1411kbps or something like that, and heard that's way overkill, and is only used as a standard for .CDA because it fits on a standard CD fully, without having tons of songs on a CD by one artist (I just made that very last part up, maybe. Wait, the whole sentence might not make sense. asoifjoiwfja).

(Please read forward in the thread a bit before coming to any conclusions)

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The point of FLAC is to be completely indistinguishable from a source wave file, while decreasing the storage space required. This comes at a cost of processing power required to decode the format though. It's also open source, if you're into that sort of thing.

Any mp3 encoded file will not strictly be as good as a FLAC encoded file. There are people who will be able to distinguish between a 320kbps mp3 file and a lossless file. However, those people are few and far between, and even then they'd likely need decent equipment to detect differences.

Ultimately, it depends on what you want the file for. During production, I would never recommend saving in a lossless format, and 320kbps is no exception. If you're releasing a file on the other hand, I'd be very surprised if 320kbps wasn't sufficient for anyone.

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FLAC is very handy for archiving and taking along source files for wave-editing, recording etc. Why waste space when it's not necessary?

Even 320kbps will mean a loss in fidelity. It's like working with JPGs in Photoshop; a BMP or TGA is simply clean and completely free from artifacts, no matter how indistinguishable.

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Reason being is I'm thinking of starting a site (probably with torrents for each song) where people submit their OCRemixes at either 320kbps or using FLAC. I'm sure the public would appreciate the hard disk space being saved on their computers if I went with 320kbps, but then in the future (possibly quite a bit in the future) I might as well have just started doing FLAC. 100 terabyte hard drives anyone? Even then, there are those who won't be able to buy those even WAY FARTHER in the future. So it's more leaning toward 320kbps right now.

It's not only headphones, but speakers. Even crappy speakers seem to get a nice range of treble and bass sounds, so with a decent to awesome speakers, I wonder if the difference would be more noticable in the bass and treble. I think I myself would be better at picking out discrepancies in bass than in treble. I'd imagine your body could even tell differences better than your ears, but these are just my wonderings.

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If you want to use torrents to distribute high resolution songs, so be it, but let me tell you that there is no reason why this would even be desirable. First, FLACs are big. Yes, they are maybe half the size of WAVs, but it's not economic to store that many, except for archival purposes. No one wants to have a music library filled with FLAC files. You can't tell the difference between a 320 kbps MP3 and a FLAC, so why bother? FLACs are only good for live recordings, such as the ones at dimeadozen.org, where you can find bootlegs of concerts (legality disputed & distributed via BitTorrent).

I really doubt that people will listen to songs to find points where the sounds are slightly muddled by compression. If people do, then they're missing the point of music altogether.

If you want perfect sound quality, listen to your record player.

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During production, I would never recommend saving in a lossless format

Surely you mean always?

Actually I meant lossy :P

A site like this might be useful, not necessarily for downloading lossless files to play, but for downloading lossless files to convert into something that's more suitable than the default format (most likely for those files that are 6 minutes plus in length which tend to be encoded in 128kbps less).

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I heard that 320kbps is totally indistinguishable by the human ear.

indistinguishable to what? CD quality? Quality doesn't stop at CDs :) That's why we have DVD-A and Hi-Def CDs and SCDs and all that.

That said, I think a partial mirror site of sorts that hosts FLAC and/or other lossless formats would be a good idea. I know a few people [not a lot, though] that prefer flac encoding over mp3 because hard drive space isn't so limiting anymore.

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I heard that 320kbps is totally indistinguishable by the human ear.

indistinguishable to what? CD quality? Quality doesn't stop at CDs :) That's why we have DVD-A and Hi-Def CDs and SCDs and all that.

That said, I think a partial mirror site of sorts that hosts FLAC and/or other lossless formats would be a good idea. I know a few people [not a lot, though] that prefer flac encoding over mp3 because hard drive space isn't so limiting anymore.

True, but even on cable it takes some time to download a 16 meg file vs 3 meg.

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If you want to use torrents to distribute high resolution songs, so be it, but let me tell you that there is no reason why this would even be desirable. First, FLACs are big. Yes, they are maybe half the size of WAVs, but it's not economic to store that many, except for archival purposes. No one wants to have a music library filled with FLAC files. You can't tell the difference between a 320 kbps MP3 and a FLAC, so why bother? FLACs are only good for live recordings, such as the ones at dimeadozen.org, where you can find bootlegs of concerts (legality disputed & distributed via BitTorrent).

I really doubt that people will listen to songs to find points where the sounds are slightly muddled by compression. If people do, then they're missing the point of music altogether.

If you want perfect sound quality, listen to your record player.

Cool.

Given that, unless more people want to discuss FLAC vs. 320kbps, I've made my decision (320kbps all the way, until maybe like 2050 when everything's uber ultimate and I'll be dead) while getting a little bit of info, so I won't mind if the thread is locked. Or, it will probably die out on its own.

And no, you are not having deja vu. I posted something similar to this in general discussion. Not a good idea, for me anyway. Though, I think I had a little less clarity when I did that.

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If you want to use torrents to distribute high resolution songs, so be it, but let me tell you that there is no reason why this would even be desirable. First, FLACs are big. Yes, they are maybe half the size of WAVs, but it's not economic to store that many, except for archival purposes. No one wants to have a music library filled with FLAC files. You can't tell the difference between a 320 kbps MP3 and a FLAC, so why bother? FLACs are only good for live recordings, such as the ones at dimeadozen.org, where you can find bootlegs of concerts (legality disputed & distributed via BitTorrent).

I really doubt that people will listen to songs to find points where the sounds are slightly muddled by compression. If people do, then they're missing the point of music altogether.

If you want perfect sound quality, listen to your record player.

Cool.

Given that, unless more people want to discuss FLAC vs. 320kbps, I've made my decision (320kbps all the way, until maybe like 2050 when everything's uber ultimate and I'll be dead) while getting a little bit of info, so I won't mind if the thread is locked. Or, it will probably die out on its own.

And no, you are not having deja vu. I posted something similar to this in general discussion. Not a good idea, for me anyway. Though, I think I had a little less clarity when I did that.

To be honest, given the purpose that I and those who would actually use such a site, 320kbps isn't desirable. Only advantage that 320kbps offers over FLAC is a smaller file size (by about half I would imagine), and I wouldn't dream of transcoding a lossy file, no matter how high quality it is.

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I dunno. All I know is that there are a ton of 128kbps MP3s on this site, and the difference is completely noticable, unless I'm dumb and a douche. All I want is to offer the chance to those artists interested in re-encoding their source files to 320kbps (or something like that, but definitely not FLAC; dunno what similar options there are to 320kbps MP3s [OGG Vorbis?]). I think I have enough ideas and content for the site in mind that it would be a useful site. If it isn't, then I've learned a valuable lesson somewhere along the line probably.

I also realize that raising the bit rate won't do everything. Something might not be mastered right to make me believe something in any particular song could be fixed with a higher bit rate. I was thinking of also giving a chance to fix mastering as well by allowing newly mastered OCRs, but then that wouldn't really stay true to the essense of the site being one that has OCR mp3s at a higher bit rate. I don't want to be another remixing community. I won't even have a General Discussion -- just some useful forum here and there.

I also realize not everyone keeps their source files, which I think is really not a good idea, but what can I do =). Also, they might have already upgraded, or it could have been unfortunately deleted by a hard drive crash or what have you, which I hear about WAY too often. Kind of disheartening.

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I heard that 320kbps is totally indistinguishable by the human ear. But then FLACs came out. There has to be some point to FLAC then, right?

It's not so much about immediate audible differences as the fact that when mixing, etc, it's a good idea to mix with lossless formats. You may not be able to tell the difference between a lossless version and a 320k mp3, but if you reincode that mp3 at 320k several times in the process of mixing and then compare it to the original, those differences are greatly magnified.

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To be honest, I'd be surprised if you were to get more than a quarter of pre OCR01250 remixes as source files. Still, getting remixes submitted from now on would be worth it in my eyes.

Still, I can't help but feel that for something like this to work, it needs to be lossless or nothing. That's my opinion though.

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First off, apology to TCK, since I didn't quite understand what you were talking about in your second to last post. Didn't know if you were pro-FLAC or what.

So, Taucer's post could be seen as advice to remixers in general? Would it be something I have to consider for my site?

And yes, getting something out of all the massive OCRs of the past will not heed large percentages, but all the recent mixes and future mixes have way better chances. Might as well start "now". I mean, I understand http is really convenient, and at that convenience there can't be insane file sizes going around, but, especially if it was a FLAC site, the place will basically be roaming with audiophiles, and they will go to the unconventional ways if needed. Yeah, that's me. Not that torrents are hard to understand or even new.

Okay well. As soon as I actually create such a site, it will gather a bit more attention, and then I can make a poll/discussion on whether it should be FLAC or something else.

Hm. Given TCK's opinion, I am getting the feeling that there would be a benefit to FLAC files other than just so listeners can get their jollies.

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And no, you are not having deja vu. I posted something similar to this in general discussion. Not a good idea, for me anyway. Though, I think I had a little less clarity when I did that.

I suppose I hadn't joined the forum by the time whenever you were talking about this, since I don't remember you having done so before. I'm sorry if you think I was rude in my last post, because I can see the potential of a site with higher resolution mixes. I just think that using FLAC is going overboard.

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And no, you are not having deja vu. I posted something similar to this in general discussion. Not a good idea, for me anyway. Though, I think I had a little less clarity when I did that.

I suppose I hadn't joined the forum by the time whenever you were talking about this, since I don't remember you having done so before. I'm sorry if you think I was rude in my last post, because I can see the potential of a site with higher resolution mixes. I just think that using FLAC is going overboard.

Arguably, going over 192kbps mp3 is going overboard. It's a preference thing.

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Well there's another problem. There's always screaming "OMG I want FLACs!" or "OMG I want OGGs cause they're the future", etc. But it depends on the one who submits the track, too.

As example:

If I say "okay this track is fine as is, and it's only for internet purposes", then I sure wouldn't go the FLAC way, but the mp3 way (VBR encoding up to 192, encoders are as good already and without oscilators and very detailed FFTs you don't recognise a difference at all).

On the other hand, if I really want to produce in high-end, I go with 48kHz and save the files for later use (Redbook Audio) on data DVDs. Storing possibilities are kinda endless nowadays. But it still counts: if it's for the internet, mp3 is where it's at. FLAC is a nice possibility but you can be sure that 95% of the users won't send you source files or anything. Like already mentioned, it's also a bandwidth issue. (even with 6MBit DSL I need 5-7hours to upload a RAR packed audio CD pack with 500-600MB!).

At the moment, the Fraunhofer institute is working on "lossless Dolby" formats, and a new "user format" that is lossless too, but this still takes a while - and will also include certain licenses.

Then again... we consumers heard everything so far: Vinyl Records, Audio Tapes, the first era of CDs, then mp3s. From dynamic material to overcompressed material.

To be honest... some really don't care what format it is in, as long as it's accessable (and mp3 is the majority, also in terms of portable players). Only the audiophiles are like "can't you release as FLAC?!" - then again, those people don't really buy CDs (anymore).

Vicious cycle....

And "this" is why I wrote that this discussion is very familiar. A wonder that this didn't turn out into a flamewar yet.

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So, to summarize and add some things:

--Bandwidth issue on user upload - some remixers might not be interested in that for what it's worth, especially if using FLAC. But would it have any benefit for remixers to have a site full of lossless/higher encoded versions of their works?

--More standardized lossless forms will eventually come. I heard that FLAC is the most compressed lossless format right now (might be wrong), but then that just leaves the question of whether or not there will be way better/standardized lossless formats in the future anyway.

--I'd say the majority of people don't care or don't even know anything about kbps. That doesn't mean it won't be more enjoyable at much higher quality rates, though.

I mainly thought of doing this for myself, but might as well have others benefit. It would help if I had some examples between a 128kbps-160kbps remix and 320kbps MP3 or FLAC of the same remix. I definitely won't be taking any source files themselves.

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I'll never want to get stuff in FLAC or OGG format really, because of one reason - they don't work on my mp3 player and I don't want to have to convert.

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Aren't there other lossless formats which compresses somewhat more than FLAC? What are your thoughts about those?
There are lossless formats that compress better than FLAC, but compatability is minimal, and the general rule is the more you compress the more processing it takes to decompress. FLAC is reasonable in this aspect.
you guys are totally forgetting about something:

ogg.

iirc 192kbps ogg encoding is ~ 320kbps mp3. that should save you even more space and bandwidth.

*prepares for compy attack*

Ogg is better than mp3 per kbps, but it's nowhere near as good as that. Plus there's the whole issue of compatability, which is more serious with a lossy format.

EDIT:

I'll never want to get stuff in FLAC or OGG format really, because of one reason - they don't work on my mp3 player and I don't want to have to convert.
How feasible is converting on request? As in, you have the FLAC on the site, and people can request to download either the FLAC, or a specific file format/bitrate file converted on the fly?

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